Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Well, my poor old dog is starting to show his age. I took him to the vet because I noticed he was having trouble walking. Turns out he has arthritis in his hip. We have put him on medications that seem to be helping. He also has gone deaf from old age nerve degeneration.
Tommy is part shepherd and part doberman...with some other mutt mixed in. He is a very intelligent animal, one that was intended as a working dog. It is in his nature to work. Living in a city like we do, he doesn't have much work to do. Up to this point his job has been to protect the house and yard. He has been very good at this. For a time, he took it upon himself to look for mice. Evidently at one point he found one in the bushes outside, because I often found him standing staring in to the bushes, or digging around in them. Sometimes my kids would have fun teasing him by telling him there was a mouse in the cupboard under the kitchen sink. He would stand and stare at the cupboard, waiting for any mouse that might meander by.
Since he has gone deaf, it has been harder for him to do his job. He can no longer rely on his hearing as one method to look out for dangers. Because of this, he has taken it upon himself to be my new body guard. He follows me around all day. When I say that he follows me around, I mean, if I walk five steps from the kitchen to put something on the dining table, then turn around, I will most likely trip on my dog. Today I was carrying stacks of books upstairs. I went up and down the stairs many times. The dog followed me up and down each time. I was worried about how it would affect his hip, so at one point I made him stay at the top while I got the next stack of books. He seemed content with that because he could still see me. If I go to the bathroom, he has to follow me to make sure I'm okay. At night he sleeps at the foot of the bed.....on my side.
I have actually considered emailing the pet therapist that Oprah often has on her show, to ask him how I can help my dog to refocus his protective instincts. While I'm flattered by his attention, it makes it difficult for me to work in the kitchen with a dog glued to my side every time I turn around. I literally trip over him sometimes.
I guess I should enjoy it while I still have him. I know he won't last forever, and some day I will miss him. I do worry about how he will react when I leave to work at girl's camp for a week in June. Maybe he will take to protecting someone else while I'm gone.